The Liberal party has swiftly rejected a bid by a former byelection candidate who hoped for a “second chance” to run for the party after making online comments about the ethnicity of NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.
Karen Wang dropped out Wednesday as the Liberal candidate in Burnaby South after posting on Chinese social media platform WeChat that she was the “only” Chinese candidate while she described Singh as “of Indian descent.”
She said Thursday that she “still loves” the Liberals and believes her philosophies fit the party’s policies. But the party quickly put out a statement saying that their decision to accept her resignation still stands.
“As mentioned yesterday, recent online comments by Karen Wang are not aligned with the values of the Liberal Party of Canada. The Liberal party has accepted her resignation as a candidate and she will not represent the Liberal party in the Burnaby South byelection,” it said.
Elections Canada has also confirmed her withdrawal as the Liberal candidate, following a written letter submitted to the organization, the statement said.
When Wang announced her decision Wednesday, she apologized to Singh and said her choice of words weren’t well-considered and didn’t reflect her intent.
StarMetro Vancouver reported Wang’s now-deleted post on WeChat. The post has been translated to read: “If we can increase the voting rate, as the only Chinese candidate in this riding, if I can garner 16,000 votes I will easily win the byelection, control the election race and make history! My opponent in this byelection is the NDP candidate Singh of Indian descent!”
Speaking in a phone interview Thursday, Wang disputed that her comment was “racist” and said she’d have more to say at a news conference that afternoon.
“Recently they labelled me as a racist, which is totally wrong. I am not. So I would like to explain that to the public as well,” she said.
“I need to explain it to the public and the people in the community know me and my heart is there, and I have the passion to serve them.”
She added that if the Liberals won’t take her back, she would consider running as an Independent.
“It would depend how much support I get from my supporters and I would discuss with my support team. Yes, I would consider that as well.”
Singh accepted her apology on Wednesday while expressing his concerns about “divisive politics” in Canada.
“We see that in the south — divisive politics and how it tears apart a country. I want to focus in on politics that bring people together,” he said.
Conservative party spokesman Cory Hann said Wang’s resignation as the Liberal candidate leaves the byelection in a clear two-person race between NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Conservative candidate Jay Shin.
Hann did not directly address the controversy around Wang’s WeChat post, but did take aim at Singh, saying he is “using the residents of Burnaby South to save his political life.”
“Voters in Burnaby South deserve an MP who will stand up for them, not one who’s using them as a political bus stop.”
The Canadian Press